Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Picnic on the Pont des Arts

Last weekend we met up with a bunch of friends for the annual picnic on the Pont des Arts.  Every year around this time we organize a picinic on the pont and every year it's a great time.  The only problem this year was the police who were patrolling the bridge like crazy to make sure no one was drinking alcohol (apparently it is now officially illegal to consume alcohol on the bridge).  The cops were relatively cool about it and if they caught you drinking they gave you the choice of throwing it out or going down on the quais next to the bridge.  Nonetheless, it got a little annoying having to be very careful to hide all our beer and wine, but it was still a lot of fun, the weather was beautiful, we were able to enjoy some good company and some good food and I was able to destress a little, if only for one night.

sunset from the Pont des Arts Saturday night

Monday, May 30, 2011

Back en France

Well, I'm back in France after a wonderful trip to the US.  I actually got back a week ago, but I have been so depressed about returning to Paris and to my horrible job that I haven't been able to motivate myself to post.

My time in the US was incredible and I was very busy trying to squeeze in time with family and friends.  Unfortunatly the weather wasn't very great and it was cold and rainy most of the time.  We did have a few days of nicer weather though and luckily the rain held off for my friend Lindsay's wedding, which was the main reason I went back in May.

Overall I'm pretty happy with everything I managed to do and everyone I managed to see (though there were more people I really wanted to see, and I just didn't have the time).  I saw the new Cleopatra exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center, went to a Cincinnati Reds game (though it was raining and freezing), did all the stuff for the wedding weekend (rehearsal dinner, wedding, reception, etc), got my taxes done, did a ton of shopping, ate a bunch of delicious food (including Mexican, bbq, real hamburgers, etc), went to Hofbrauhaus (my favorite bar in Cincy) with my brother and some friends, saw a lot of family, celebrated my dad's birthday, spent time with a bunch of friends and ran some random errands such as getting a hair cut (since I hate doing it in France because they never do what I ask).  Even after all this, I still managed to find a little time to relax, though not much since I also couldn't stop stressing about having to return to my stupid job.

Go Reds!

at the Reds game

out for Mexican


Congrats Lindsay and Tom!  a beautiful wedding!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

USA here I come!

Tomorrow morning I'm off for two glorious weeks in the US.  I'll try to post once or twice if I find the time, but my schedule is already pretty busy.  I've got a wedding which I'm a bridesmaid in, a big family get together, celebrating my dad's birthday, lots and lots of shopping, I'm planning to go to a Cincinnati Reds game, I'm going to spend some time up in Columbus visiting some friends, I have some administrative stuff to work on, taxes to prepare and file, and some other plans which are in the works.

But for the moment I'm just thrilled about 2 weeks free from English teaching, the metro, Paris and I'm looking forward to seeing my family and friends.  The only thing that makes me a little sad is that Lionel didn't have any vacation left, so he isn't able to come with me this time.  But that's ok because I'm going to take advantage of some husband-free time with friends!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

L'atelier des Chefs

For Lionel's birthday present I got us a cooking lesson with L'atelier des Chefs, and last week we went.  I decided to get him the cooking lesson for us to do together because I recently tried it for the first time with a friend and he was really jealous that he couldn't come since we did one of their 30 minute lunch courses during one of my breaks from work.

L'atelier des Chefs provides cooking courses where you learn how to cook 1-3 recipes and receive different cooking tips for all kinds of different things in the kitchen.  The courses consist of about 20 people and you work in small groups of 4-5 to prepare the recipes while listening to the advice of the chef.  After you finish cooking you have the choice to either eat at the atelier or (for some of the courses) to take the food home with you.  They have 6 different ateliers in Paris and can also be found in some other major cities in France.  They offer lessons throughout the entire day, at a lot of different prices and a number of different formulas.  The prices range from 15 euros (for the 30 minute lunch courses) to 72 euros for the 2 hours more intense courses and wine tastings.

The first course I did was a 30 minute lunch course where we learned to prepare massalé d'agneau et riz parfumé à la cardamome.  Since it was only a 30 minute lesson we only learned one dish and afterwards we ate it and it was very good.  We also had the option to pay extra for wine, coffee or for a dessert that the chef had prepared beforehand.

For Lionel's birthday we went to an evening lesson after work at 7:30.  The lesson was an hour and we learned three courses, then sat down and ate there before heading home.  For the lesson I chose there was a theme: La bière s'invite en cuisine.  We learned to make:

Soupe de fraises et framboises, sirop de bière à la cardamome et tuile au gingembre

Croustillant au sésame et poulet mariné au citron vert et à la bière
Carpaccio de bar mi cuit, blinis et sirop de bière

Included in the price was a beer, of course.  Unfortunately, I was too busy eating to think to take any pictures, so sorry!  But everything was really good and Lionel really enjoyed the experience and wants to do some more lessons with l'Atelier des Chefs.  He's very proud to have finally learned how to cut an onion like a professional chef, and he's been practicing his new skill at home!  I'm hoping this means he will cook more!